Second to Plead Guilty in Bearings Bid-rigging Investigation
January 30, 2014 — OTTAWA, ON — Competition Bureau
NSK Ltd. (NSK), a Japanese bearings manufacturer, pleaded guilty today to two counts of bid-rigging under the Competition Act and was fined $4.5 million by the Superior Court of Quebec in Gatineau for its participation in an international bid-rigging cartel.
NSK’s plea relates to automotive wheel hub unit bearings supplied to Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada Inc. (Toyota) between 2007 and 2013.
The evidence shows that NSK secretly conspired with JTEKT Corporation (JTEKT), another Japanese bearings manufacturer, to submit bids or tenders in response to requests for quotations to supply Toyota.
- NSK admitted that it participated in an agreement to rig bids in response to requests for quotations to supply automotive wheel hub unit bearings to Toyota for the Rav4 models produced in Canada from 2008 to 2012 and the Corolla/Matrix models produced in Canada from 2007 to 2013.
- The Bureau became aware of the bearings cartel by way of its Immunity Program, after which it began its investigation in July 2011. The investigation also benefitted from the cooperation of other companies under the Bureau’s Leniency Program.
- There is no allegation of wrongdoing against Toyota, the customer of the companies under investigation.
- The Bureau’s investigation of the bearings cartel is part of a large international cartel investigation relating to the supply of various motor vehicle components.
"Bid-rigging has a negative impact on all Canadians and cracking down on cartel offences continues to be a top priority for the Bureau. Bid-rigging deprives those seeking goods or services of the benefits of a competitive bidding process and the resulting competitive prices."
The Competition Bureau, as an independent law enforcement agency, ensures that Canadian businesses and consumers prosper in a competitive and innovative marketplace.